International Summit on Teaching reveals U. S.’s approach to K-12 education differs greatly from other nations

Writing in the Washington Post, Stanford professor Linda Darling-Hammod reports on the International Summit on Teaching, a first-of-its-kind event held in New York City this past month:

Evidence presented at the s ummit showed that, with dwindling supports, most teachers in the United States must go into debt in order to prepare for an occupation that pays them, on average, 60% of the salaries earned by other college graduates. Those who work in poor districts will not only earn less than their colleagues in wealthy schools, but they will pay for many of their students’ books and supplies themselves.

And with states’ willingness to lower standards rather than raise salaries for the teachers of the poor, a growing number of recruits enter with little prior training, trying to learn on-the-job with the uneven mentoring provided by cash-strapped districts. It is no wonder that a third of U.S. beginners leave within the first five years, and those with the least training leave at more than twice the rate of those who are well-prepared.

Those who stay are likely to work in egg-crate classrooms with few opportunities to collaborate with one another. In many districts, they will have little more than “drive-by” workshops for professional development, and – if they can find good learning opportunities, they will pay for most of it out of their own pockets.

Meanwhile, some policymakers argue that we should eliminate requirements for teacher training, stop paying teachers for gaining more education, let anyone enter teaching, and fire those later who fail to raise student test scores.

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